Ireland international Jason Knight is set to make a quicker than expected return from injury for Derby County this weekend.
Knight was expected to be out for eight to 12 weeks after picking up an injury in pre-season with his club side.
At the time, his manager Wayne Rooney said that his spell on the sidelines was set to last between two to three months.
But ahead of Derby's game against Birmingham City on Friday night, the Derby boss confirmed that Knight is in contention to return to his starting XI.
"Jason has been in with us the last couple of days, and he has trained well. He is in contention with us on Friday night."
WR: "Apart from Kamil Jozwiak, everyone's back from international duty and they've all been with us today.
"Sam Baldock and Jason Knight are back in training so the squad looks a bit better now.
"Jason will be on the bench on Friday night and he's a great option for me."#DCFC pic.twitter.com/eGRzmKgwcJ
— Derby County (@dcfcofficial) September 8, 2021
He did hint that Knight was nearing a quicker return to full fitness last month, however.
"Knighty is working hard in the gym, [but] he is not quite outside yet," Rooney said last month.
"He is out of his protective boot and he is progressing the way we thought he would.
"I think we are probably looking after the international break before Knighty is back with us."
And so it has proved with the former Cabinteely schoolboy returning to action much sooner than was initially expected.
Jason Knight Set To Return From Injury This Weekend
His return to the Derby first-team squad comes just days after his Derby and Irish teammate Festy Ebosele learned of some injury news of his own.
The former Bray Wanderers man is expected to be out for a few more weeks with a knee injury.
WR: "Louie Sibley's started showing more consistency and is getting back to his best form, so I'm delighted with him.
"Tom Lawrence's injury is improving and, with the international break coming, he may be able to play with an injection.
"Festy Ebosele won't be involved." pic.twitter.com/azgmXR9YGi
— Derby County (@dcfcofficial) August 26, 2021
The 19-year-old picked up his injury just before the international break.
Rooney hoped that Ebosele would return after the international break, but it seems as if it has come too soon for him. Rooney did not provide a new update on his recovery.
In other Irish injury-related news across the Irish Sea, Southampton's Will Smallbone has strated training again after a long-term injury.
🚑 #SaintsFC injury update ahead of Saturday's clash with West Ham.
🤕 Two injures with Stuart Armstrong now joined by Theo Walcott in the physio's room.
🙌 Will Smallbone likely to return to training today, ending a long and difficult recovery fight.https://t.co/Hel5RP68XF
— Tom Leach (@TomLeachHL) September 9, 2021
Meanwhile, Sheffield United's Enda Stevens may continue to miss out having missed out on the last three internationals for Ireland.